The Bulls scored five tries to claim a Super Rugby double over the Sharks this season with a 39-33 victory in their South African derby at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, keeping their hopes of a playoff place alive.
The Bulls moved off the foot of the South African conference and now trail leaders the Lions by seven points, but with a game in hand. The home side led for most of the match and scored tries through exciting fullback Warrick Gelant, centre Jesse Kriel, flank Roelof Smit, wing Johnny Kotze and lock Lood de Jager.
The Sharks showed some good enterprise on attack themselves, and denied the Bulls a bonus-point as they crossed for tries through fullback Curwin Bosch, and loose-forwards Jacques Vermeulen and Jean-Luc du Preez.
The Sharks were denied a try in the opening 10 minutes when the scorer, Curwin Bosch, was adjudged to have tripped a Bulls player in back play. There was a double blow for the home side as they not only lost out on the points, but Bosch received a yellow card for his indiscretion to leave them a man down.
The Bulls capitalised on that immediately as Kriel's excellent grubber kick eluded Sharks wing Makazole Mapimpi and Gelant was able to collect and dot down unopposed.
The Sharks were rattled and three minutes later Kriel crossed for the home side's second as he easily broke the visitors' defensive line and cantered in.
Bosch's return to the field restored some order for the Sharks and he crossed the line after an offload from Tendai Mtawarira that looked suspiciously forward.
Referee Rasta Rasivhenge checked with the Television Match Official Marius Jonker and the score was, perhaps surprisingly, awarded.
The home side hit back almost immediately though as wing Travis Ismaiel was tackled just short of the line and Smit was able to finish the move.
But the Sharks came back into the contest after a couple of mad minutes from the Bulls. First lock RG Snyman was yellow-carded for a needless dangerous tackle on Sharks scrumhalf Cameron White, and from the resultant penalty, Vermeulen scored their second try. The loose-forward collected a clever throw at the front of the line-out by hooker Akker van der Merwe and barged over the line.
The teams traded penalties before the break, with Bosch landing a 55-yard kick to leave the Bulls leading 22-17 at halftime.
After Bosch had missed another long-range penalty, flyhalf Robert du Preez put the Sharks into the lead for the first time as he landed two three pointers as the visitors made the better start to the second half. But the Bulls finally managed to out together some phases and regained the lead as Gelant's excellent pick-up from a poor pass saw him turn the ball inside to Kotze to dive over.
The Bulls found their verve again and began to control the possession again, with De Jager burrowing over to give them a 13-point lead with 15 minutes remaining.
The visitors' task was made harder when centre Lukhanyo Am made a reckless tackle on Bulls replacement scrumhalf Andre Warner when the player was in the air and received a yellow card.
Pollard landed the resultant penalty to put the home side more then two scores ahead.
But the Sharks kept on attacking and were rewarded with 10 minutes to play when Jean-Luc du Preez crossed under the posts.
And with time up on the clock, they secured a losing bonus point as Robert du Preez kicked a simple penalty for the last act of the game.